BETTING shop owners are being encouraged to support Responsible Gambling Week later this year.
The Irish Bookmakers Association staged a similar initiative in February and has decided to repeat the exercise in November, to coincide with the British betting industry’s drive to promote responsible gambling.
IBA chairperson Sharon Byrne said: “We held a very successful Responsible Gambling Week in Ireland earlier this year and joining up with the British industry from November 1st-7th is a great opportunity to take part in the biggest conversation we have ever had about responsible gambling.
“We take a pro-active approach, encouraging staff to interact with customers and talk about what it means to gamble responsibly. Having a week-long event is very helpful for staff because it makes it easier for them to approach customers – it’s less personal and they are less likely to cause offence.
“A very important element of the campaign is that we carry out independent spot checks to random shops to test the staff’s knowledge of Responsible Gambling Week and that they are displaying posters, with full shop window takeovers.
“They also use younger, mystery shoppers to test that ‘Think 21’ is being used.
“Staff are given training materials in advance of Responsible Gambling Week so they understand all the issues and feel empowered to have conversations with customers.
“The results were very encouraging and we look forward to improving them again this year.”
Responsible Gambling Week conveys the message that gambling should be fun and that there are tools available to help keep it that way. For anyone who does need help, it is a great opportunity to highlight the services available.
Byrne continued: “During our week in February we had widespread support in 770 shops run by members of the Irish Bookmakers Association, along with amusement arcades, racing and dog tracks taking place that week, card clubs and tote operations.
“In November we would like to see more support by non-IBA members and are hopeful of blanket coverage for Responsible Gambling Week.”
It is hoped that the November initiative will be supported by more than 800 Irish betting shops and head offices, involving around 5,500 staff, and by the Irish Amusement Trade Association, Horse Racing Ireland and both Tote operators at greyhound and horse racing venues.
The headline theme of the Week will be Let’s Talk About Responsible Gambling.
By coming together with one voice, the industry is able extend its reach and ensure that the message of responsible gambling connects with the widest possible audience.